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Late-April Hornets NBA mock draft roundup

A certain Duke center is an exceedingly popular choice for the Hornets just under two months out from the draft.

G League Ignite vs Santa Cruz Warriors Photo by Mike Rasay/NBAE via Getty Images

We’re in the throes of mock draft season now, folks. More NBA teams are eliminated from the playoffs and kicked into the offseason with each passing day, important pre-draft events like the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament and Tampa Bay Pro Combine have been held and the lottery, combine, and draft night itself are rapidly approaching.

It feels like a belabored talking point after three offseasons, but the Hornets need to find a center this summer. Montrezl Harrell is a free agent, Mason Plumlee’s contract is partially guaranteed next season, Nick Richards is a restricted free agent and while Kai Jones grew a lot during the year, he doesn’t yet profile as the starting big. As a result, a common theme has developed across mainstream mock drafts. Let’s take a look.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz

Pick 13: Mark Williams, C, Duke

After Chet Holmgren and Jalen Duren, Mark Williams is my clear-cut third-best center prospect. He’s big at 7-feet and 243 pounds and was the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year while shooting 78.1 percent at the rim per BartTorvik. Williams isn’t quite a “rim-runner” but he finishes at the basket and defends the interior well without being a world-beater in transition.

Pick 15: Jeremy Sochan, F/W, Baylor (Poland)

Sochan has had a unique road to the NBA; born in Oklahoma, he’s half-Polish, grew up in Milton Keynes, England, headed to La Lumiere School in Indiana before leaving America during the pandemic and joining OrangeAcademy of Germany’s ProB league and then finally landed at Baylor for his freshman year of college. Sochan is a rangy defender that’s still putting it together offensively but has all of the tools to do so in the NBA.

Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman:

Pick 13: Mark Williams, C, Duke

Funny enough, Wasserman’s mock was the exact same as Givony and Schmitz’s.

Pick 15: Jeremy Sochan, F/W, Baylor

Sochan wasn’t able to build up his statistical profile coming off the bench for all but one game with the Bears, but he did average 14.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2 steals and 1.1 blocks per-40 minutes.

CBS Sports’ Kyle Boone:

Pick 13: Jalen Duren, C, Memphis

Now, this is where things get spicy! Duren is a monstrous athlete with NBA strength, length, soft hands and budding feel for the game as a passer at 19 years old. At this stage, it’d be very surprising if he falls to 13, but crazier things have happened. The Hornets would be remiss to pass on Duren if he lands in their laps like this, even with Jones showing real potential.

Pick 15: Mark Williams, C, Duke

It would be weird for the Hornets to select two centers of a similar archetype two picks apart in the first round, but if they end up with either of Duren/Williams out of these two picks it’d be fine.

Tankathon:

Pick 13: Mark Williams, C, Duke

Williams is a good prospect, but for the sake of these roundup articles I hope he becomes a less popular choice in future mock drafts.

Pick 15: Ochai Agbaji, W, Kansas

Agbaji is a senior that made marked improvements each year at Kansas, especially as a shooter. He averaged 19.3 points per game while shooting 40.7 percent from deep on the eventual national champion and won the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player award. NBA teams can always use depth on the wing.

The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor:

Pick 13: Dyson Daniels, G/W, G League Ignite (Australia)

Thank you, KOC! The Ringer gave us some variety. Daniels was easily the most impressive Ignite prospect this season, displaying craft as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, aggression and versatility as a defender and the ability to race downcourt and score on the break. Daniels only hit 38.5 percent of his free throws during the Ignite Tour — his shot needs work, but the percentage is hindered by the G League rule that turns all fouls into a “one shot for two points” attempt until the last two minutes of the fourth quarter.

Pick 15: Tari Eason, F, Louisiana State

Similar to Sochan, Eason is a rangy, defensive-minded forward that needs to work on his offensive skillset once he breaks into the league, though he did shoot an encouraging 35.9 percent from deep on 3.9 3PA per-40 minutes last season and 80.3 percent from the line. Eason averaged 1.9 steals and 1.1 blocks per game off the bench for LSU, winning the SEC’s Sixth Man of the Year award.